Thursday, September 29, 2022

Programmatic and Digital Out-of-Home – When Will DOOH Get its Share?

Guest post by Sheldon Silverman,
CEO, SmartBomb Media Group

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Let’s face it – for the last three years you couldn’t miss an article, conference session or strategy white paper appearing almost every month on the promise of programmatic buying in the digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. In that same time period, while our industry has made strides forward, the reality has not yet lived up to the promise.  But, that may be about to change…

In their 2016 market forecast, eMarketer predicted 2017 to be a winning year for programmatic buying as mobile video ads surpass desktop advertising for the first time. In fact, next year the same report states that the programmatic mobile video ad spend will reach $3.89 billion, which would account for 51% of the total programmatic ad spend in the U.S., anticipating a drop in desktop video ad spending to 49%.

This paints a rosy picture of the continued adoption of programmatic buying in digital web (desktop and mobile), but what does this mean for DOOH?

Slow progress in programmatic DOOH

DOOH is continuing its growth as a key component of the Omni-Channel advertising globally, but it has not succeeded in capturing a sizable portion of the expanding programmatic budget yet. Why? Because the web-based desktop and mobile ecosystem has well established standards, and has adopted Application Programming Interfaces (API) and Software Development Kits (SDK), both of which enable frictionless transactions between multiple Programmatic and Real-Time Buying (RTB) platforms.

It is because of these factors that the programmatic ad buying within web-based desktop and mobile marketplace is accelerating exponentially.

The same cannot be said for the DOOH/Place-Based industry.

The DOOH industry and market, while experiencing huge growth and technological advancements, has been made up of networks utilizing disparate software platforms as their engine. Many of these are “black-box” systems that make it difficult to integrate seamlessly with programmatic software.

Open architecture is the answer to programmatic DOOH adoption

Over the last few years, more and more of the DOOH software developers and stakeholders have adopted a more open architecture, which is making programmatic platform integration much easier.

While the industry has had many calling for a more standards-based approach to the software driving these networks, progress has been slow.

There are those that believe an open architecture will limit the defensive perimeter around their business (whether software companies or ad networks), but actually the opposite is true – with open systems and the ability to connect to many different DOOH ad networks, our industry would see explosive growth.

DOOH has become a vital omni-channel component, and adoption of such standards and open systems will drive substantial growth in ad dollar allocation.

So now that the argument has been clearly stated inviting the entire industry to work together to open networks to programmatic buying platforms, let’s look as what makes DOOH so important to the entire advertising industry.

DOOH fills the niche in the advertising market that presented itself as a result of the television time shifting due to DVR’s, on-demand and mobile entertainment/video. No longer do consumers have to sit in their homes watching television, and be forced to watch ads between the programs. Now people watch what they want, when they want, and they have the ability to avoid most of intrusive advertising.

Using DOOH, brand advertisers are able to reach the right customer at the right time, in a high traffic location where they cannot turn off the screen or escape the impression. If the network’s content strategy is done correctly, what consumers see is relevant to them and the data proves that time and again.

According to the Nielsen 2016 Out-of-Home Advertising Study, “…more than one in four OOH viewers have talked about an ad or product they viewed with others…” and “nearly one in four OOH viewers have searched for the advertised brand online.”

DOOH/mobile integration critical for programmatic DOOH

The final component of what makes DOOH so important to the overall omni-channel environment and, specifically vital to programmatic buying systems, is that DOOH consumers are highly connected via their mobile devices.

The DOOH industry has been dedicating a great portion of their R&D to connecting digital signs to the mobile consumer. Be it low-power Bluetooth, beacons or location-based services, the emerging integration between mobile and DOOH is building upon the already tight integration between mobile/digital video programmatic media buying.

This means that 2017 should be the year that finally makes programmatic happen in the DOOH space, which will help deliver that all-important slice of programmatic dollars to the DOOH companies and networks that invest in this integration.


Sheldon Silverman


SmartBomb Media Group is a member of the Digital Signage Federation (DSF), and author Sheldon Silverman is a member of the DSF Board of Directors. Sheldon will be a panelist on the DSF’s March “Hangout” discussion entitled, “Programmatic & Real-Time Ad Buying Platforms,” on Wednesday, March 15 at 2pm EST. More information on this and other DSF events can be found on the DSF website. Both DSF members and non-members may join this or any of the DSF’s scheduled Hangout discussions for free – but registration is required and can be accessed on the DSF website at


Sheldon Silverman is CEO of SmartBomb Media Group/CASHtv, the largest multicultural DOOH Network in Check Cashing locations and is the Chairman of the Advertising & Consulting Firm Liquid Marketing. He will also be moderating a panel at the DSF’s March 28 Digital Strategy Summit at DSE 2017, entitled, “Omni-Channel Advertising: Building Seamless Cross-Channel Integration Between Brands and the Mobile Consumer.” For more information on that event see Sheldon can be contacted at and


Published on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 8:03 PM

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